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Mt. Hebron Methodist Church

Picture donated by Thomas Seale.

The information below was donated to the site by Gene Allred.

According to a sign placed in front of the church, it was established in 1840. The land was donated by Vincent Delk, who owned a large tract of land in and around the town of Tamola. The original location was closer to Tamola. The church was moved to the present location in 1857, when Elias A. Delk, made a deed on December 31,1856, to the trustee's of the church Mr. Thomas F. Burton, Robert T. Delk, Benjamin Herrington, Richard S. Cole and Wesley Seals. The first tombstone that still exists is dated May 16,1857. Elias A. Delk, was the administrator of the estate of Vincent Delk, who had died on September 25,1856, the church is located about 2 miles north of the intersection of the Tamola Rd and the Mt. Hebron Rd. in the Southwest quarter of Section 28, Township 9N, Range 18E.

Some of the original families that attended Mt. Hebron were Clays, Hortons, Granthams, Roberts, Hendersons, Hatchers, Gordons, Murphys, Gordys, Cherrys, Wrights, Glovers, Garretts and others.

Some of the early ministers who served this church were the Reverends Gann, Stovall, John Burton, and Joel P. Williams. After the Porterville Charge was organized the ministers at Mt. Hebron were the same as those for Chapel Hill and Union United Methodist Churches.
The original building burned in 1910 and the current building was built in 1911. By the 1970's the congregation had dwindled to only a few, the building and piano were in need of repair and the cost of these repairs would have been large for the handful of elderly members who mostly came from Lauderdale, in Lauderdale County to the south and the few members who still lived in southeast Kemper County, so it was decided to suspend services for awhile.
This was the oldest Methodist church on the Porterville Charge, and in 1981 the older members not wanting to see the church become totally inactive, along with some of the younger members of the Seale, Clay, Grantham, Brantley, Gordon Families, and some new members decided to revive the old church on a part time basis. Money and materials were donated to repair the roof, put an underlay board and carpet on the floor, buy a good used piano, and new heating equipment. The District Superintendent of the Methodist Church, along with the local pastor agreed to have services there every fifth Sunday.
Since 1970 there have only been a few burials in the cemetery, and these are mostly the oldest members that remain in the area.

Additional information on Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church... submitted by Thomas Seale.
The church was established by 05 June 1848 as Mount Hebron Methodist Episcopal Church South and was a part of the Alabama Conference until about 1870. Vincent Delk, a prominent land owner, conveyed land for the church. The original location is believed to have been about a mile to the west at or near Tamola Station. This was likely changed as the result of the Federal Land Grant Railroad Act signed by President Millard Fillmore in 1850 giving certain sections of land in each township to the railroad. A log church was constructed at the present location by 1857 on land conveyed to the trustees of the church by Elias A. Delk, son of Vincent Delk and administrator of the estate of Vincent Delk who had died on 25 September 1856. This deed was signed on 31 December 1856 and the trustees were Thomas F. Burton, Robert T. Delk, Benjamin Harrington, Richard S. Cole, and Wesley Seals. The original log church at the present location burned to the ground in 1910 as the result of a forest fire that started from a sawmill operated by Sumter Lumber Company in the area. Sumter Lumber Company furnished lumber and a new church was constructed by the members and their neighbors and opened in 1911.

By the 1950's the population in the area started to decline as many left the area in search for jobs. In 1976 the congregation had dwindled to a few and the church building was in need of repair. The cost of repairs would have been large for the few remaining members and it was decided to suspend services. In 1981 some of the remaining members of the church decided to revive the church on a part time basis. Money and materials were donated to repair the roof, overlay and carpet the floor, and buy a used piano to replace the old piano, which was in need of considerable repair. The District Superintendent of the United Methodist Church and the pastor of the Porterville Charge agreed to have service every fifth Sunday.

Two cemeteries are located at the church with the first tombstone dated May 16, 1857. The second cemetery was located across the road to the west of the church where slaves were buried. Slaves attended Mt. Hebron and some former slaves continued to attend services until around 1900. Their descendants are still being buried in the cemetery.

Some of the original families that attended Mt. Hebron were Clay, Horton, Grantham, Henderson, Hatcher, Gordon, Gordy, Murphy, Roberts, Cherry, Wright, Glover, Garrett, Burton, Seale, Harrington, McArthur and others. 

Early pastors of the church were mostly Circuit Riders. During the late 1800's and early 1900's the pastors were assigned to the Lauderdale Circuit or the Porterville Circuit when a pastor was available for that circuit. Since around 1908 the church has been a part of the Porterville Circuit or charge. Some early pastors were Reverends Clegg, Reed, Gann, Stovall, Browning, John Burton, W. J. Burton, and Joel Williams. 

The church is located about 6.5 miles south of Porterville in Kemper County and 6.8 miles north northeast of Lauderdale, Mississippi and is 1.1 miles north of the intersection of the Tamola and Mt. Hebron Road in Section 29, Township 9N, Range 18E.


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